Iranian lawmakers shouted “Death to America!” and burned the United
States flag Wednesday, just hours after President Trump announced he was
withdrawing from the nuclear deal championed and agreed to by former
President Barack Obama's administration.
Iranian lawmakers held the impromptu demonstration at the parliament
building in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic, where officials
also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear accord.
The chant "Death to America" has long been used in Iran, going back at
least to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has been common to hear
the slogan shouted within parliament.
IRAN’S BALLISTIC-MISSILE SPENDING WILL CONTINUE, OFFICIAL SAYS AFTER
TRUMP’S NUKE-DEAL PULLOUT
The protest came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that
Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world” and hoped European
leaders would continue to “preserve the deal.” However, he cautioned
that the Islamic nation could restart its nuclear program whenever it
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Trump's decision
to withdraw from the nuclear agreement "silly and superficial.” He also
challenged Trump over his announcement --and knocked his presidential
powers -- by saying “you cannot do a damn thing." Meanwhile, under
Iran’s laws, Khamenei has final say on all state matters.
Iranian lawmakers are about to set a paper American flag on fire
a day after President Trump announced he was withdrawing from
the nuclear deal. (AP)
"You heard last night that the president of America made some silly and
superficial comments,'' Khamenei said, according to Reuters. "He had
maybe more than 10 lies in his comments. He threatened the regime and
the people, saying you're doing this and that. Mr. Trump, I tell you on
behalf of the Iranian people: You've made a mistake.''
Khamenei's comments continued on Twitter, where he took a swipe at past
U.S. presidents and said Trump's "corpse will be worm food while IRI
(Islamic Republican of Iran) stands strong."
Iran's 2015 nuclear deal imposed restrictions on its nuclear program in
return for the lifting of most U.S. and international sanctions.
TRUMP VOWS TO WITHDRAW FROM IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT, CALLS PACT
‘DEFECTIVE AT ITS CORE’
However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran's
ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and
elsewhere. Trump has repeatedly pointed to those omissions by calling
the "terrible" accord the "worst deal ever." Proponents of the deal have
said those time limits were meant to encourage more discussion with Iran
in the future that could eventually address other concerns.
Iranian lawmakers celebrate as they burn a paper American flag.
Many Iranian citizens are worried about what Trump’s decision could mean
for the country's financial future. Many say they have not seen any
benefits from the nuclear deal.
Iran's poor economy and unemployment sparked violent nationwide protests
in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and,
reportedly, nearly 5,000 people arrested.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.